In honor of National Nurses Month, Operation Smile recognizes the commitment and enthusiasm of its 4,000+ nurse volunteers. As one of the world's largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile relies on the generosity and skills of volunteer nurses to provide life-changing surgery and comprehensive care to children with cleft conditions in underserved areas all over the world.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 16, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- May is National Nurses Month, a time to recognize the dedication and hard work exemplified by outstanding nurses all over the country. As one of the world's largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile's volunteer nurses make up over 70% of the organization's more than 6,000 medical volunteers. Operation Smile relies on the generosity and skills of volunteer nurses to provide life-changing surgery and comprehensive care to children with cleft conditions in underserved areas all over the world.
Operation Smile volunteer nurse Bryan Manalo is a registered nurse working at Ann & Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. When asked what he enjoys about nursing and working with Operation Smile, Bryan enthusiastically says, "When I look into the eyes of those children, I see their future of boundless opportunities. Nursing allows me to appreciate life in a different light. It enables me to see perspectives not many people have the opportunity to see. I wanted to be the change I wanted to see and give back to the community. [Helping children] is what I love most about nursing."
Stacie Goodrich is another volunteer nurse with Operation Smile. She currently works as a registered nurse at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah. Stacie's passion for the nonprofit and for the field of nursing runs deep. Both Stacie's mother and grandmother are retired operating room nurses. Growing up in a house full of medical professionals, it was natural for Stacie to develop a love for the field of nursing. Stacie's mom was also a volunteer for Operation Smile in the 1990s, which inspired Stacie to get involved with the organization once she became established in her career. "I always loved when she would get her photos back from the store after being developed and looking at all the cool places she went and the cute kids she got to work with," Stacie recalls. "Serving people was and still is so important to her, and I guess between her and my grandma, it rubbed off on me!"
Oftentimes, nurses who have worked with Operation Smile for several years will go through the training process to become clinical coordinators. Clinical coordinators are essentially head of operations for surgical missions. Some of their responsibilities include setting up equipment and preparing facilities for surgeries and post-anesthesia recovery. They are also responsible for ensuring the safety of patients, volunteers and local staff in the clinical setting.
Linda Highfield, a current clinical coordinator and former operating room nurse and assistant manager at Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, has worked with the Operation Smile for over three decades. In that time, Linda has compiled many fond memories of her experiences working with children and families in developing countries. She joined Operation Smile after attending a local informational meeting. At the time she was a nurse who worked in surgery, so the position at Operation Smile seemed like a natural fit. "I was also a mother of three healthy children and was grateful for the opportunity to help the children of other mothers who were not, in many ways, as fortunate as I," Linda says.
Bryn Frazier is operating room nurse at Plastic Surgery Bellingham in Bellingham, Washington. When she is not assisting patients at home, she travels abroad with Operation Smile to facilitate surgery and post-operation care to patients as a clinical coordinator. Bryn states that she started out as a volunteer nurse in the operating room and after a few years with the organization, she was asked to step up into the clinical coordinator role. "I was so honored when I was asked to shift to that role. My nursing experience certainly helped me fulfill my role as a clinical coordinator," Bryn says.
When asked why she enjoys working with Operation Smile, Bryn responds: "As Operation Smile volunteers, we change our patients lives. They smile! They can eat and speak! They can pucker up and give someone a kiss! No more hiding behind a scarf or staying indoors." Bryn also says she finds it difficult to fully describe the beauty of the work they do. "Parents hand over their children to us. We do not speak their language and surprisingly, the children are, for the most part, willing to go with us. The language of love is present and felt from all mission volunteers."
Ann Campbell, Senior Director of Medical Oversight at Operation Smile has had the opportunity to work alongside many incredible nurse volunteers on the surgical programs she has attended. When reflecting the significance of National Nurses Month, Ann says: "As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, Operation Smile nurses have been and continue to be our heroes and one of our greatest strengths. We continue to look at the global need while strengthening local health systems through our greatest asset, our nurses who lead the way. As we celebrate the incredible job they do every day in an often-turbulent world, we must remember self-care and ensure that we embrace and support each other. Thank you to our nurses for the compassion, empathy, commitment and love of our patients, families, and their communities that they model and share each day."
To learn more about Operation Smile and its volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.operationsmile.org/medical-volunteers.
About Operation Smile
Operation Smile is a global nonprofit specializing in expert cleft surgery and care. Over the last 40 years, we have provided medical expertise, research, and care through our dedicated staff and medical and student volunteers around the world, working alongside local governments, nonprofits, and health systems, and supported by our generous donors. Learn more at https://www.operationsmile.org/ or by following @operationsmile on social media.
Julie Dion, Dion Marketing, 904-249-9784, [email protected]
SOURCE Operation Smile
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